The Kitchen restaurant is something of a Lonely Beach institution. Located on the main road just before the bridge, it consistently serves up good quality food at very affordable prices
The Kitchen is a simple no frills affair, open on three sides with wooden railings fencing a concrete floor, which houses 20 or so plastic tables, plastic chairs and plastic tablecloths under a classic thatch roof. In fact, you could say it’s hardly built for permanence and yet The Kitchen has outlived pretty much every other Lonely Beach restaurant, which tend to come and go with the seasons. Baan Mai, further up the street, is an honourable exception.
The Kitchen – Their Menu
The photo menu, offering page after page of Thai and western choices, has the full range of local cooking very well covered; the curries’ list alone allows for every possible combination, with and without coconut milk, as soups or as fried, meat, fish, seafood or tofu and a few more besides. A personal favourite well worth trying is coconut milk red curry with cassia flowers and prawns (gaeng dawk ki lek kung) or for a very spicy number, look no further than the wild boar red curry, a dry dish not for the faint hearted. Of course, there’s also the spicy Thai salads, clear soups, lots of seafood and noodles dishes, the standard fried dishes such as holy basil and black pepper with garlic, western breakfasts, shakes, banana pancakes, appetizers and desserts.
You’ll be familiar with most dishes but The Kitchen is also popular with the locals, so you can find some other less well-known ones; pumpkin and egg, pickled bamboo shoots with egg, squid with salted eggs and fried kale are all great accompaniments to main dishes such as hot and spicy catfish, tilapia in soy or barracuda steaks in red curry. Barracuda is listed in many menus in Thailand but the fish actually used is pla insee, or Eagle Fish, very similar in texture and just as delicious.
The Kitchen – Our Lunch
On our latest outing, we pushed the boat out and opted for tilapia in chilli sauce, morning glory, squid with peppers and seafood glass noodle salad. We also added a Thai omelette stuffed with prawns. Thai omelettes are cooked in a pool of very hot oil, so appear very greasy but it is the intended style, not a mark of bad cooking and once in a while, cholestrol aside, they do the trick. The freshwater Tilapia fish, a hugely popular staple of Thai street cooking, was excellent, its spicy sauce just sufficient to flavour the dish not overpower it. The bill for 3 of us, with water and a couple of sodas was 530bt.
A few days later, I was back in Lonely Beach and returned to The Kitchen on my own for a relaxed late afternoon lunch, opting for a plate of fried wide noodles in soy sauce with seafood. As simple as it comes, no frills, great value, very tasty, hitting the mark – just like The Kitchen in fact.